Australia faces more severe cyclones, wildfires as climate warms: Report

Sydney blanketed in a haze of smoke from wildfires burning hundreds of kilometres north of the city, on Oct 31, 2019.
Sydney blanketed in a haze of smoke from wildfires burning hundreds of kilometres north of the city, on Oct 31, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) - Australia faces the prospect of more severe cyclones, wildfires and floods as the climate warms, the nation's largest insurer said.

A 3 deg C increase in global temperatures will lead to higher intensity cyclones moving further south, longer bush fire seasons in all states and more intense rainfall across the country, resulting in more frequent flooding, Insurance Australia Group said in a report on Friday (Nov 1).

Rising sea levels will also increase the risk of floods impacting coastal areas, buildings and infrastructure, according to the report, which was done in conjunction with the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research.

"This report shows that our climate is changing more rapidly than some have predicted," IAG chief executive officer Peter Harmer said in the report. "It is critical there is a coordinated national approach from governments, industries and businesses to build more resilient communities and reduce the impact of disasters."

The warning comes as Sydney was blanketed in a haze of smoke for a third day from wildfires burning hundreds of kilometres north of the city. The government advised people with respiratory problems to stay indoors and avoid vigorous exercise.